It’s a Draw! The Italian Riviera and Lake Como Inspire Artists with ‘Art Walk Italy’ Tour
Called a “pastel-hued perfection” by Lonely Planet, the Italian Riviera’s Cinque Terre is comprised of five Mediterranean cliff-side villages whose colorful beauty draws thousands of visitors every year. It is also one of the inspirations for Art Walk Italy, a seven-night walking vacation offered by The Blue Walk, a Florida-based walking vacation specialist.
Led by American artist and teacher Leslie Fehling, Art Walk Italy features onsite sketching and watercolor classes combined with daily coastal walks and tours of villages rich in Old World charm. There is time with the group as well as on your own. Enjoy daily, easy strolls along coastal paths and through charming villages. Fehling, recognized in the U.S. and Europe for her lively style, tutors guests in drawing, watercolor techniques, hand lettering, page design, and travel sketching – all while they absorb the scenic beauty of some of the world’s most stimulating environments.
Art Walk Italy runs from September 22- 29, 2018, with rates starting at US$3,350 pp, double occupancy. In addition to art lessons, rates include daily buffet breakfast, a welcome dinner in the Italian Riviera town of Rapallo and a farewell dinner in Lake Como’s Lenno, all hotel taxes, fees, and service charges. The group is small, allowing both the new and experienced sketchers to gain valuable insight into their craft through personalized instructions.
“Going to these popular destinations during the shoulder seasons, when they are relatively free of crowds, is the best time to ‘brush up’ on your creative nature,” said Jeannette Candau, co-owner of The Blue Walk. “If you’re new to drawing, Fehling is experienced in helping students bring out their best to capture the essence of the quaint village scenes and stunning coastal trails.”
After a night in Milan, Art Walk Italy guests spend three nights in the town of Rapallo, from which they visit Cinque Terre and Portofino. For the second half of the tour, they take a train and short ferry ride to Lake Como, a playground for the wealthy that sits at the foot of the Alps in Northern Italy. There is also an optional three-night extension, September 29 – October 2, which visits Venice, Verona, and Padua in Italy. Extension rates start at $1,095 pp, based on double occupancy.
The Blue Walk www.thebluewalk.com offers small-group walking vacations in unique regions of France, Italy, Greece, and England. Most of its guests are 45 to 65 years, the majority of which are women. Its clients enjoy leisurely strolls along Europe’s beautiful coastlines, village squares and open spaces while staying at luxury four or five-star boutique hotels and resorts. Each tour includes daily one hour to half-day walks in some of the world’s most serene surroundings.
The Blue Walk also offers themed vacations with well-known, talented and creative teachers. Hiking boots and backpacks are optional, as the routes are always “people friendly,” following safe paths that are a unique blend of gentle walking trails, coastal meandering and urban strolling. The Blue Walk has other art walk tours led by professional artists coming up in Greece (May 2019), Paris, France (October 2018) and Florence, Italy (October 2018).
Images courtesy of The Blue Walk.
Paddling the Explorers’ Route on the Missouri River, Montana, U.S.A. Grandparents Get 20% Discount on these Multi-Generational Journeys
If rivers could talk, the Missouri would tell a story few other rivers in the U.S. could match. Upon its waters and banks was played out the drama of every major theme of Western Plains history – the extensive Indigenous cultures with thousands of years of occupation, the white man’s arrival and exploration, the fur trade, gold fever, the steamboat era, the collision of white expansion with the last Indian stand-off and the resultant military occupation, and finally, the establishment of permanent white settlements, the range cattle industry and farming.
ROW Adventures, www.rowadventures.com has created several “Journeys of Discovery” in which every participant of every age has an opportunity to learn about these themes in a fun, informative manner, to work up an appetite with plenty of paddling and hiking, and to sleep under canvas (or under the stars, if preferred).
Most departures that have ten or more guests are accompanied by talented authors and historians with specialized knowledge of the area. Highlights include: visiting camps where explorers Lewis & Clark stayed some 200 years ago, hiking incredible eroded sandstone crags, and exploring Native American cultural sites and pioneer settler homesteads.
“There’s no better multi-generational trip in the country sure to bring the family together,” says Peter Grubb, founder of ROW Adventures. “With days spent discovering legendary frontiers and nights spent gathered under the stars, moments are made to last.”
Priced from US$975, this five-day Missouri River canoe trip departs with two scheduled trips in June and two in July, rated at level 2 for activity (“quite easy”). Additional trips may be customized as requested. Minimum age for participation is 5 years and grandparents of any age are offered a special discount of 20% even if they don’t bring a grandchild on the trip. However, the Missouri River’s pleasant current makes this trip a great family vacation.
To help bring a part of the river’s history alive, guests travel in 34-foot canoes that replicate those of the early voyageurs or fur traders, and each will carry up to 14 paddlers and two ROW guides. This makes for the perfect platform for spinning yarns and pointing out many points of interest along the way. For those who prefer a smaller craft, ROW offers the option of paddling two-person canoes.
From the launch at Coal Banks Landing, the river carries the canoes down a wide, meandering valley into the famous White Cliffs area. It is a deep, rugged gorge where steep, eroded sandstone cliffs reach a height of nearly one thousand feet, revealing ten million years of geologic history. Wind and water have eroded the dazzling White Cliffs to create massive rock crags and carved rock castles that loom high above the river.
Summer days are typically hot and dry unless you want to cool off in the river. Each night a luxury camp is set up on the Missouri’s riverbanks while golden eagles, hawks and falcons gracefully soar above. Cottonwood, juniper and pine grow along the Missouri River with sagebrush, cactus and wildflowers which provide food and shelter for beaver, prairie dogs, antelope, deer, elk and big horn sheep.
Images courtesy of ROW Adventures.
Spicing up the Journey No Matter what the Destination!
Most of us have heard some variation of the classic saying that truly rewarding travel should be about the journey, not just the destination. In other words, it’s what you experience along on the way that matters. Vehicle rental company, Lurento https://lurento.com, is helping leisure and business travelers, families and sports car enthusiasts who appreciate a good European road trip to take that message to heart.
Launched in 2016, Lurento is a luxury and sports car rental service operating in 80 cities in Continental Europe. There are more than 200 models to choose from including sports cars by Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, high-end SUVs from Range Rover and Mercedes, luxury minivans and executive sedans.
From its start in Italy, Germany, Monaco, Austria, and Switzerland, the service has most recently launched in Spain operating from Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia to Seville, Marbella and Malaga. There are more than 100 models on offer, from a Lamborghini Aventador to a Mercedes Viano.
Here are some of Lurento’s most requested vehicles:
Ferrari 488 GTB · BMW Series 4 Cabrio · Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG · Ferrari 458 Italia · Audi R8 V10 Spyder · Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 · McLaren 650S · Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe · Maserati Levante · Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG · Ferrari California T · Bentley Continental GTC · Mercedes-Benz V Class · Jaguar F Type S Cabrio
There is no official upside age limit for drivers. However, each reservation has to be verified and confirmed as appropriate to the client. The average age of Lurento clients is 45 to 65.
Images courtesy of Lurento.
Travel trivia: A recent study by Harvard Business School confirmed that 80% of all travel decisions are made by women, regardless of who they travel with, who pays for the trip or where they go. Seventy-five percent of those taking cultural, adventure or nature trips are women, and there has been a surprising 230% increase in the number of women-only travel companies in the past six years.
Exploring Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland
In recent years Iceland has become a star in international travel circles. This island nation in the North Atlantic, home to roughly 347,000 people, welcomed about 2.3 million people in 2017. That figure is more than triple the number of arrivals in 2010.
Iceland is without a doubt one of the world’s most captivating destinations, featuring dramatic landscapes, plenty of natural wonders and tales of Viking culture. But there have been growing pains. A Nordic travel specialist and tour operator in the region for nearly a decade, 50 Degrees North, https://us.fiftydegreesnorth.com, has taken a forward-thinking approach to solving the high-volume visitor challenge. With a focus on local knowledge, authenticity and quality of interpretation, this company’s goal is to step off the already well-trodden track while engaging small local businesses and regional communities in creative itineraries and self-drive journeys.
A great example of 50 Degrees North’s approach is their Self-Drive Farm Stay Tour which allows travelers to decide their own stops and highlights, whilst staying in local guesthouses and farms along the way. The focus is on locally-made produce, geothermally-grown vegetables, organic beef and lamb, freshly caught fish and home baked bread.
The wow factor of Iceland is undeniable. Where else could you snorkel between two tectonic plates, comb black sand beaches, explore ice caves, walk on a glacier, and indulge in the rejuvenating waters of a hot spring? Then there’s the incredible Icelandic horse, a familiar sight along every self-drive, or the dozen species of whales that frequent Iceland’s shores. Only the regular occurrence of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) could steal the show.
A complement to creative Icelandic experiences is a journey to Greenland or the Faroe Islands. Perched precariously in the North Atlantic Ocean, the fairytale world of the Faroes was recently voted by National Geographic Traveler magazine as the #1 Island Destination. Raw, remote and epic in scale, the Faroes can be accessed as a self-drive experience on a small group tour. For information on journeys that include Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands click here.
50 Degrees North is a niche, independently-owned tour operator specialising in the Nordic region, the Arctic and Russia north of the 50th parallel. It is headquartered in Norway, with offices in Australia and Canada to serve the rapidly growing North American demand.
How Many “Ways” Are There to Do a Spanish Camino?
The answer is: a lot of them! Walking or cycling, there are different pilgrim-worn routes of a Camino de Santiago with different names and adventures to be had. Most international travelers wisely engage the expertise of a specialist to ensure the success of their chosen camino which might be the French Way, Portuguese Way, Finisterre & Muxía Way, Northern Way, Primitive Way, Portuguese Coastal Way, Lebaniego Way and Winter Way, and a few others too. With its company name Galiwonders, one such specialist declares its local expertise of the Galicia region of northwestern Spain with tour planner headquarters in the ultimate pilgrim destination, the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela. No matter which Way you tread, here is where your journey ends.
Galiwonders organizes guided and self-guided itineraries for an international clientele mainly from the U.S, Canada, Australia, the U.K. and Ireland. In addition to helping pilgrims from all over the world to experience the best “Ways” to do their own Camino, the company also plans itineraries of the fascinating Galicia region of northwestern Spain, introducing clients to the local wines, culinary and cultural treasures, and distinctive natural highlights of this less-traveled region.
Do you want to go all the way? You have two choices: walk the full Northern Way, hugging the coastline of northern Spain for most of the route before slicing inland to Santiago de Compostela, or take the French Way, from the French/Spanish foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains along a purely inland route through Basque Country heading west across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela.
By way of example, Galiwonders books for clients 37 nights of accommodation on the Northern Way or 35 nights accommodation on the French Way, both routes including two meals a day (half board), luggage transfer, 24/7 phone support, the essential pilgrim passport and walking notes for each particular route. Each day you set out only carrying a daypack. Of course, shorter segments of all routes may be taken with the pace customized in consultation with the client. No matter your choice of route or segment, Galiwonders website maps and elevation change graphs are presented clearly on each route web page, to assist in realistic decision-making about what you can manage.
Few travelers realize that Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the Galicia autonomous region, a geographically and historically-rich northwest corner of Spain rarely explored by vacationers beyond visiting Santiago itself. Why not take time after your pilgrim walk to do so with some day tours, drawing on the broad local expertise of Santiago-based Galiwonders ? See the Galicia feature article in our Travel Article Library and learn a little about the region. It is a documented home to early ancestral Neanderthal ancient humans until they died out tens of thousands of years ago and to our earliest Modern Human ancestors as well as many colorful occupiers and settlers during the prehistoric and historic periods including a strong Celtic heritage.
Images courtesy of Galiwonders.com.
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